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July 31st, 2008

Välkomnande Till Helvetet

So, I recently bought some new Ikea furniture, and boy are my arms tired.

Seriously, folks. They are freaking tired. Four pieces of furniture were purchased, each box weighing around 80 pounds. I live on the second floor. I am not a body builder. By the time I got them all up the stairs and assembled, I was sweating like Sammy Hagar.

Thankfully, that was a little while ago, and I see the the whole incident as kind of funny now.

Except the part about actually going to Ikea and buying the stuff.

I showed up at Ikea after a long day at work, so already I was a little cranky. As convenient as self-serve, do-it-yourself furniture may seem, it can be an enormous hassle. One that starts as soon as you walk in the door and are faced with the giant flight of stairs. As you ascend, you pass a giant poster of a hot dog. “50¢!” it declares. Great, you think. Now, all I want are hot dogs.

Then as you fight your enraging, post-work meat craving, you must wind your way through displays of living room sets crowded with scads of obese shoppers who feel it is acceptable to just stop in the middle of the pathway to place a phone call to their roommate about the various wood finishes available. And of course you have to remain aware of the wild children. Some of them, surely, belong to the portly shoppers. But I’m fairly certain many of them are just bred in the kitchen accessories area and left to survive on uneaten meatballs and leftover gobs of Lingonberry jam. They’re everywhere, and have no concept of how crowds move. When you eventually come across a satisfactory bookshelf, you have to scramble to find your pathetic golf pencil and scribble down its dimensions and warehouse location.

On this last excursion, when I had safely made it through The Impulse Buy Chamber (or “Markethall” as they call it) to the self-serve warehouse, I found it crawling with customers, but inexplicably devoid of any employees. When I finally found someone wearing the signature blue and yellow shirt, I asked them where I could find my product. It was called something unreasonably Swedish like Berkshtøg or Käck or Fleenbrex or something like that, and as I tried to pronounce it, the poor fellow, quite understandably, looked at me like I was a sick horse. He feebly pointed to the furthest corner of the warehouse and then abandoned me.

When I arrived at the correct area, I optimistically yanked on the proper box. It didn’t move. I yanked again, this time with conviction. I was so close to my hot dog goal; This was the final step. I had to finish. After several more attempts, I looked up. A young be-wifebeatered man was staring at me. “Heh. Looks like that’s pretty heavy.” “Yes,” I said, backing away from the box, expectantly. “Yeah. That shit’s heavy.” Then he made a terrible sound from the back of his throat, scratched his nutsackular region and walked off.

Miraculously, I made it out of there without needing any pricey chiropractic procedures, and managed to fit the huge boxes into my little German vehicle. But, by the time I’d dropped close to four C’s, and had lugged shelves around on a wobbly cart for a half an hour, the cafe was closed, and so I went home without any hot dogs at all.

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